Tonight, in the Undergraduate Student Government Senate Chambers, the first two resolutions of the year will likely be passed. This marks the potential first resolution to be passed by the current Senate, and potentially sets the tone and pace for CUSG Senate’s semester. A review of last year’s resolutions trailing all the way back to January reveals that a decent proportion of the Senate’s resolutions fulfilled criteria: 1) feasibility 2) and the capacity to materially impact student life. However, our first two resolutions hint at a divergence from that.
Last year I included an article in our magazine, “A Vision of Clemson” which called for a continued shift in resolutions towards these logistic models. In the past Student Senate has considered resolutions so extreme in their expectation that it was not only a waste of an exercise, but also decreased the legitimacy of Student Senate’s claim that it was in their power to represent and effect student life. Authored resolutions in support of federal legislation, such as the DREAM Act of 2017, represent impossibility and thus failure by association for Student Senate. Resolutions calling for an increase in the Career Service Fee or the presence of a permanent ADA director at Clemson portray the opposite. Such resolutions are possible for CUSG Senate to achieve; better yet, they would aid in bettering the Clemson experience for students in a real-world manner.
This contrast is embodied in the resolutions which will hit the Senate Floor tonight. Senate Resolution 01 has been written with the purpose expressing student body support for an undergraduate bereavement policy, allowing. “That the Clemson Undergraduate Student Senate supports the establishment of a bereavement policy for all active undergraduate students which grants excused absences from classes over five (5) consecutive calendar days, corresponding to the number of class meetings over this period, with additional absences granted at faculty discretion.” This model for a resolution 1) recognizes a student issue, 2) elaborates upon the nature of the issue itself, and 3) recommends a clear and concise material solution.
Meanwhile, Senate Resolution 02 was drafted with the title, “To Denounce the Public Display of Confederate Flags at Clemson University.” The document elaborates on the symbol as hateful and correctly makes the case that the flag is contrary to the university’s core values of honesty, integrity and respect. However, the resolution makes it clear that this is a response to a public demonstration involving the confederate flag which occurred on highway 93 and the 123-pedestrian bridge, not Clemson’s own campus or even jurisdiction. Furthermore, the purpose of denouncing public displays of the flag is purportedly in the interests of student safety.
The questions cannot be avoided: why and how? How will campus safety be improved? Can this even prevent the demonstrating of the flag? Would this have been a solution to the original issue? Will a simple public denouncing manifest in anything for the students? It may be uncomfortable to question a resolution with such genuine intentions. It is even more uncomfortable to know, as a former CUSG senator, that no matter how much heart is in this resolution, it will fail. It will absolutely be voted on and passed, and I hope it will, but the resolution will never achieve more than the solution which it contains: nothing. If these issues are important to students, resolutions need to make a serious case or not at all.